Thursday, January 20, 2011

Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell

One of the readers suggested I pick up a trilogy of books by Bernard Cornwell, the Warlord Chronicles. While I have not gotten to it yet, as Half Price Books stock changes continuously, I have read a few of Cornwell's books at this point.

Agincourt is a solid example of having a viewpoint character, an archer, going through a well known even in history and giving us an up close and personal experience. The main character, Nicholas Hook, is initially introduced as a scounrel type who has a few blessings to his name, including his ability with a bow.

In the reading, Bernard Cornwell goes through several steps of how the English Longbowmen go to work. He does an excellent job of describing the different bows, the importance of strength, the material used in crafting the arrows, the importance of the construction of the steelhead of the shaft, as well as the glues used to keep the feathers in place. He does so without being boring, unlike say this blog.

In doing so, he provides solid context for the reader. As described here, the longbow is a fierce and dangerous weapon. Crossbows in and of themselves have their use. Many times here they are described as often having a further shot range and terrible killing power. But the reload time compared to the longbow archer? No contest.

I'll have more to say about the book in the following days but wanted to give Agnicourt a quick thumbs up for those looking for some historical fiction about a well known even that has a character that most D&D players, especially those older school rogues, should be able to relate to.